John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250

Our final activation for Saturday 22nd October 2016 was the John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250, which is located about 24 km east of Perth.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the John Forrest National Park east of Perth.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Again, no problems with us locating the park, as it is very well signposted.

We set up in the southern section of the park, in a little clearing just off the side of the road which passes through the park.

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Above:- Our operating spot in the John Forrest National Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

John Forrest National Park is 26.78 km2 in size and is located in the Darling Scarp, also referred to as the Darling Ranges.  Sadly this park has been impacted by the actions of mankind.  Many of the smaller marsupials located in the park have been decimated by introduced European animals such as foxes and feral cats.  Drought and dieback have affected the jarrah forest within the park, and introduced species of weed are problematic.

All this is rather sad, as John Forrest was the first National Park to be established in Western Australia and is one of the oldest in Australia.  The park was originally declared as a conservation reserve in 1898, and it became John Forrest National Park in 1947, in honour of the famour explorer and statesman, Sir John Forrest, who was Premier of Western Australia between 1890-1901.

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Above:- Sir John Forrest.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

There are several trails through the park, including the Railway Heritage Trail, which follows the alignment of the old railway line to York.  Visitors to the park can also walk through the Swan View Tunnel, the only historical railway tunnel in Western Australia.

The park was alive with flower during my visit.

As conditions had been quite good on 20m at Greenmount, Andrew and I decided to start off this activation on the 20m band.  We commenced calling CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Greg VK5GJ who was operating QRP.  Greg was quite low down (5/1) but we were able to hear Greg very well.  Next up was Phil VK6ADF, followed by Bill VK4FW who was portable in the Cherbourg Conservation Park VKFF-1510 (5/9 both ways).  Merv VK6LDX then called in, but despite a number of further CQ calls, we had no more takers.

So it was off to 40m where we called CQ on 7.144.  This was answered by Mike VK6MB with a strong 5/9 signal.  At this time Phil VK6ADF arrived at the park and we had a bit of a chat.  Andrew and I were sitting on 5 QSOs and still needed a further 5 to qualify the park for the Australian (VKFF) chapter of World Wide Flora Fauna.  So Phil jumped in his car and drove a few km away and gave us a call.  Number 6 for us, but we were still 4 away from qualifying the park, and our CQ calls on 40m were going unanswered.

So it was back to 20m for us for a last 10 minute dash before we had to pack up and head off to our planned talk.  We tuned to 14.310 and found Rob VK4FFAB operating as VK4SQ in the Deception Bay Conservation Park VKFF-1528.

After working Rob we headed up the band to 14.315 and started calling CQ.  Our first caller was a Croatian station much to our surprise.  It was Sasa 9A3NM with a good 5/7 signal.  Rick VK4RF/VK4HA then followed, as did Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG.  Now we were really pushing for time.  It was just after 2.00 p.m. Western Australia local time, and we had to get to our talk by 2.30 p.m.  And we now had a little pile up going.

Sadly we only had the time to log a further 3 stations.  They being Les VK5KLV, Ozren 9A7W, and finally Chris VK6KRS.  Both Andrew and I apologise sincerely to the other stations that were calling, but we were forced to go QRT as we did not want to be late for our presentation.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB
  2. VK6ADF/p

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK6ADF/m
  3. VK4FW/p (Cherbourg Conservation Park VKFF-1510)
  4. VK6LDX
  5. VK4SQ/p (Deception Bay Conservation Park VKFF-1528)
  6. 9A3NM
  7. VK4RF
  8. VK4HA
  9. VK3PMG
  10. VK3GGG
  11. VK7KLV
  12. 9A7W
  13. VK6KRS

 

References.

Department of Parks and Wildlife, 2014, John Forrest National Park guide.

Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Forrest_National_Park&gt;, viewed 25th October 2016

Greenmount National Park VKFF-0218

Our second planned park activation of the day (Saturday 22nd October 2016) was the Greenmount National Park VKFF-0218, which is located about 22 km east of Perth.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Greenmount National Park, east of Perth.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

This time around we had no problems at all in finding the park and a park sign.

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Andrew and I set up in the north eastern corner of the park, and just a few metres from the roadway, on a dirt track on the edge of the park.  We were in the process of setting up, when one of the locals joined us and was very interested in what we were up to.  The gentleman remained with us during our entire activation and was fascinated to hear us making contacts around Australia.

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Above:- Map showing out operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Greenmount National Park is 56 hectares in size and is located on the slope of Greenmount Hill, overlooking Perth and the coastal plain.  It is one of the smaller National Parks located along the Darling Scarp.  It is located in close proximity to the John Forest National Park, our next planned park.

The dominant vegetation in the park is eucalypts such as Marri and Wandoo, along with an array of  wild flowers and heathland along the northern slopes. The hill is steep and contain several breakaways and rocky outcrops.

Mountain Quarry is one of a number of blue stone quarries located within the park.  The Mountain Quarry area is used for rock climbing and abseiling.

After setting up we started calling CQ on 7.144 on 40m and our first caller was Carsten VK6PCB who was portable in the Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284.  It was nice to start off with a Park to Park contact.  Next up was Allen VK6XL who was a very nice 5/9.  But despite a number of CQ calls we had no further takers on 40m.  So it was down with the squid pole and out with the links and off to 20m.

We commenced calling CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Bill VK4FW who was operating portable in the Cherbourg Conservation Park VKFF-1510.  Another Park to Park contact in the log, and a very nice 5/8 signal from Bill.  In some parts of the world this would be classed a DX contact.  But here in Australia, this was just another ‘local’ QSO, albeit Park to Park.  In fact, our Park to Park contact was over a distance of 4,000 km, from one side of Australia to the other.

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Next in the log was Greg VK5GJ operating QRP from the Adelaide Hills, followed by Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta, and then Nev VK5WG at Crystal Brook.  Signals coming in from the various parts of South Australia were quite good.

Mick VK3PMG then called us.  Mick’s signal was quite low down, and despite calling Mick a few times he did not come back to our call again.  So we continued on, logging Peter VK3PF in Melbourne with 5/1 signal reports being exchanged.   Next up were some of the Western Australian locals, Allen VK6XL, Bob VK6POP, and VK6ARN.

Ian VK5IS then called us with a low but workable 5/1 signal (5/2 received), followed by Carsten VK6PCB in the Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284.

Andrew and I were just about to pack up when Mick VK3PMG called us again, and this time Mick’s signal had come up to a good 5/5, with a 4/2 signal report received from Mick.

Time was marching on, and we still had one more planned park activation prior to our talk.  Andrew and I were happier this time, as we had qualified for park for the VKFF program, having reached the 10 QSO threshold.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK6PCB/p (Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284)
  2. VK6XL

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4FW/p (Cherbourg Conservation Park VKFF-1510)
  2. VK5GJ
  3. VK5KLV
  4. VK5WG
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK6XL
  7. VK6POP
  8. VK6ARN
  9. VK5IS
  10. VK6PCB/p (Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284)
  11. VK3PMG
  12. VK3GGG

 

References.

Shire of Mundaring, 2016, <http://www.mundaringtourism.com.au/Lists/All%20Listings/DispForm.aspx?ID=43&gt;, viewed 24th October 2016

Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenmount_National_Park&gt;, viewed 24th October 2016

Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284

Last Friday (21st October 2016) I flew over to Perth in Western Australia with my wife Marija and we stayed for 2 nights with Andrew VK6AS and his wife Allison.  Andrew and I had a scheduled talk on WIA issues on Saturday afternoon and this was the reason for the lightning trip over to the west and back within 3 days.

Marija dug in to her frequent flyer points and we upgraded to business class on the flight over, which meant a relaxing one hour in the Qantas Club at Adelaide leading up to the flight, and then a very relaxing 3 hour flight over to Perth enjoying a few Bundies and coke.  Sadly there were a number of controlled burns in the Perth Hills, so there was not much of a view to be enjoyed coming in to Perth.

Andrew picked us up from the airport and drove us back to his home.  After settling in, I had a listen in to the 7.130 DX Net.  Now this is different, being all the way over there in the west.  It is a 3 hour time difference to the east coast of Australia, so the net starts at 5.30 p.m. Western Australia time.  And as Andrew lives in the Perth suburbs, the noise floor is quite high.  So it was a bit of challenge to hear a lot of stations on the Net.  But I did manage to work Roy VK7ROY, Brian ZL2ASH in Wellington New Zealand, and William FO5JV in French Polynesia.  I also had a great chat on 40m with Steve VK6OZ who is planning on going portable in the future.

We all enjoyed a glass or two of red and lasagne for dinner, and Andrew and I then mapped out our day for Saturday.  We decided to active three parks prior to our planned WIA presentation at 2.30 p.m.  They being Lesmurdie Falls National Park, Greenmount National Park, and John Forrest National Park.

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Above:- In the shack of Andrew VK6AS, enjoying a glass of red.

On Saturday morning (22nd October 2016), after breakfast and a quick chat with the gang on the F Troop Net on 2m,  Andrew and I headed off at around 9.30 a.m.  Marija and Allison had plans to head out to Fremantle for the day.

Our first park of the day was the Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284, which is situated about 22 km east of Perth.  This was to be a unique park for me as an activator in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Lesmurdie Falls National Park to the east of Perth.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

It took Andrew and I some time to get into position as everywhere we drove to there were only signs for the Mundy Regional Park.  As it turns out it appears that the 56 hectare area of Lesmurdie National Park still exists and is surrounded by the larger Mundy Regional Park.  We set up just off Falls Road, a little to the north east of the main Lesmurdie Falls carpark.

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Above:- Map showing our operating spot at the Lesmurdie Falls National Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

It was a beautiful day with the expected top temperature being 30 deg C, and not a cloud in the sky.  During our activation we were visited by a very tame Australian Ringneck Parrot.  In Western Australia these parrots are known as ‘Twenty Eights’.  They are known as Twenty Eights because their contact call is usually rendered as twenty-eight

This was the first time that Andrew had switched on his brand new Yaesu FT-857d, which had only just arrived.  We also used his brand new power supply, and telescopic squid pole and even broke in his newly acquired fold up table from Bunnings.  I had brought over with me, two linked dipoles, and we used the 40/20m combination for this activation.

Sadly after turning on the radio, we experienced strength 8 noise.  We had power lines on the roadway behind us, and as this park is surrounded by houses in the Perth Hills, we suspected we could not get away from the noise unless we walked a few km into the bush.  And this was not going to happen, as Andrew’s power supply is extremely heavy.

After calling CQ for quite some time on 7.144 with no resposne, Allen VK6XL called in and was my first contact from Lesmurdie Falls.  Ian VK6DW then followed with a strong 5/9 signal.  My next caller was Bob VK6POP who was portable in the John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250.  My first ever Park to Park contact from Western Australia….I was very happy.  Unfortunately numerous CQ calls by both Andrew and myself went unanswered.  We suspected others may have been calling us, but due to the very high noise floor on 40m, it was very very difficult to hear callers below the very high noise floor.

We then moved to 14.310 on 20m where I worked Greg VK5GJ in the Adelaide Hills, who was operating QRP, followed by Allen VK6XL, Peter VK3PF and Carsten VK6PCB mobile.  Carsten had arrived at the park a few minutes earlier to say g’day and as we were desperate for callers, he drove a few km away and gave us a call to get us a little closer to the 10 contacts required for the Australian (VKFF) program.

Andrew and I then moved back to 40m where we were only able to make one further contact, and that was with Ben VK6LVI.

Sadly I only had 8 contacts in the log and I had not qualified the park for the Australian (VKFF) chapter of WWFF.  I will have to come back another day.  We were pushed a bit for time, so we decided to pack up and head off to the next park.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK6XL
  2. VK6DW
  3. VK6POP/p (John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250)
  4. VK6LVI

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK6XL
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK6PCB/m

At the conclusion of the activation I decided to do the 640 metre walk down to the Falls.  Along with the way, I encountered the little guy below, a Southern Brown Bandicoot.  In Western Australia they are sometimes referred to as Quendas.

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The park was alive with flowers during my visit.

The walk down to the Falls is an easy and very pretty walk, passing by the Lesmurdie Brook which leads to the Falls.  The Brook originates on the ridge beyond Lesmurdie Road where a number of small streams come together after capturing rainfall run-off and seepage from springs flowing from the groundwater beneath the laterite rock.

In winter after good rains, Lesmurdie Brook rushes through crevices in the orange laterite, then cascades over the exposed granite rocks before tumbling 100 metres over the Darling Scarp.  The face of the falls is of sheer granite formed from weathering and eroding aong vertical fractures within the bedrock.  In the foothills below the falls, Lesmurdie Brook merges with Yule Brook which meanders across the coastal plain to the Canning River.

There are some terrific views of Perth to be enjoyed from the park.

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References.

Department of Parks and Wildlife 204-15 Annual Report.